The news and photos coming out of Syria are horrid. I’m not a great fan of the Syrians. They’ve been at war with Israel since creation of the State. But the steam of atrocities flowing from there has nothing to do with friends and enemies. Any normal person with any thoughts of civil humanitary could not help but be shocked seeing photographs of massacred babies.
However, it doesn’t seem to be shocking enough for civilized nations of the world to do anything. True, Hillary was photographed with a very grim look on her face, and words of condemnation on her lips. But that’s it.
The UN is also pretty good at lip service. But there too, that’s about as far as it goes. Virtually nothing is being done to finish Assad and end the bloodbath.
That having been said, I can only ask myself, how is it such monumental efforts are made to ostracize Israel, and conduct international boycotts as a result of internal Israeli policies, when so little is being done to stop the Syrian atrocities?
However, that’s not really what I’m really interested in at present. Not what the rest of the world is doing; rather what Israel, or better put, Israeli leaders are doing.
Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook, Israel’s first chief Rabbi, a tremendous Torah scholar, begins his seminal work “Orot” (Lights): The land of Israel is not some external entity. It is not merely an external acquisition for the Jewish people. It is not merely a means of uniting the populace. It is not merely a means of strengthening our physical existence. It is not even merely a means of strengthening our spiritual existence.
Rather, the land of Israel has an intrinsic meaning. It is connected to the Jewish people with the knot of life. Its very being is suffused with extraordinary qualities.
The extraordinary qualities of the land of Israel and the extraordinary qualities of the Jewish people are two halves of a whole. (http://goo.gl/ZuCzn)
In other words, Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, is not just another piece of real estate, like New York, Chicago, London, Paris, or anywhere else in the world. It’s not just a place to live. According to Rav Kook, (whose teachings are rooted in the holiest and most esoteric of Jewish texts), Eretz Yisrael is an entity unto itself, a living organism.
Jewish thought relates to various numbers with special and unique significances. For example, the number three: Three forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Three distinct groups of Jews: Kohanim (Priests) Levi’im, and Yisrael. The list can continue for many more lines. But I will conclude the trianglular expression with only one more; perhaps the most essential threesome: Am Yisrael, that is the Jewish people, Torat Yisrael, that is the Torah, the Bible, and Eretz Yisrael, that being the land of Israel. Each one of these items is an indespensible element of our being as Jews.
The British historian, Arnold Toynbee related to Jews and Judism as an anachronism (http://goo.gl/qiAit
). “Our fifth instance of linguistic Archaism..of the present day is the reconversation of Hebrew into a vernacular language of everyday life on the lips and in the ears of the Zionist Jews from the Diaspora who have settled in Palestine…” “The Zionist Jews are a fragment of a fossil of alien origin
which has been embedded in the body of Western Christendom since its pre-natal days.”http://goo.gl/EA5U5
Yet, we are well, alive and kicking. We are not a fossil fragment. We are real. Why? Because we have never, ever, let the truly vital ingredients of our existence disappear. How is it that the Jewish people are still just that – the Jewish people? Because we had a Torah, a Divinely given way of life to define our existence; a Torah practiced, almost identically, by Jews around the world, during 2,000 years of exile from our homeland. A Jew could find himself almost anywhere, and still repeat the same liturgy, and practice the same Shabbat laws with Jews in any Jewish community, anywhere.
But that was not enough. Despite the exile, Eretz Yisrael was paramount in a Jewish life. During prayer, worshipers faced Jerusalem, three times daily. Jews fasted annually, because of the destruction of the Temple. The expression, “Next year in Jerusalem” was repeated time and time again, even at the cost of death. Jews refused to bow down to idols, of any sort, physical, spiritual, or otherwise. And as a result they remained Jewish for 2,000 years of Galut, of Diaspora, of exile. The absence of any of these factors would undoubtedly have led to the demise, G-d forbid, of Judaism.
But that was not to be the case. The yearning, the pleaing, the almost unhuman attempts to return home bore fruit. Hence, the State of Israel. Hence, Jews live today in Jerusalem and Hebron.
Not everyone is happy with this, of course. One of my sons participated in a tour of Hebron, last week, of Breaking the Silence, a very leftwing, pro Arab, EU-funded organization. They met with a local Arab named Issa Amru, who incites, instigates and takes part in numerous anti-Israeli activities in this area. Amru, speaking about us, said something like this: Jews in Israel act Jewish, like Yehuda Shaul (founder of Breaking the Silence). But Hebron Jews, they don’t act like Jews. Like David Wilder. He doesn’t’ do Jewish things, like Yehuda Shaul.’
Yesterday I had a little run-in with Amru, (http://goo.gl/iPfkI
) who made a lot of noise while a journalist was trying to video an interview with me. Soldiers, present at the site, stood around and watched as Amru claimed that ‘this is his land.’ Eventually he went back home and behaved himself, after being filmed himself by the journalist. But that fact that he believes that Tel Hebron, and the rest of our land, belongs to him.
Unfortunately, there are Israelis, including Israeli leaders, who are helping people like Issa Amru. They are forcing Jews off their homeland, destroying their homes, all in an attempt to appease the Toynbean world. According to documents posted this week, Netanyahu ordered expulsion from the “Ulpana neighborhood” in Beit El, as well as from the Machpela House here in Hebron, following a report by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein that Netenyahu, Barak and others could be tried as war-criminals by the Hague, should Jews continue to live in these places.
Almost seven years ago, Israeli leaders participated in a massacre of our land, when Gush Katif was destroyed, its Jewish residents expelled and the the land abandoned to our enemies. Some thirty years ago, Israeli leaders participated in a massacre of our land, when they destroyed Yamit and other Sinai communities, expelled its Jewish residents, and abandoned our land to our enemies.
Netanyahu and company seem to be going in the same direction. First the Ulapana neighborhood. Next Givat Assaf, and then Migron. And what’s next on the list? There are those speculating that Netanyahu’s going to pull a “Sharon” on us. Last week Barak suggested a unilateral abandonment of Judea and Samaria. Was he speaking just for himself? I doubt it. There is speculation that, if need be, Netanyahu and Barak will from a new political alliance with Mufaz and others, in order to implement additional massacres, massacres of our land, of Eretz Yisrael.
For if Eretz Yisrael really is an intrinsic element of our being, as so defined by Rav Kook, than abandonment of our land to our enemies, and expulsion of its Jewish residents, is really nothing less than a massacre. Jews, for 2,000 years, gave their lives for the thought to return to the land, and now, having returned, Israeli-Jewish leadership is implementing the opposite?! Is this Zionism, or is it Toynbeeism?